Friday, August 24, 2012

M&M Cookies

When Tink was first diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, I mourned chocolate chip cookies. How can you be a kid and not have chocolate chip cookies? It just didn't seem fair. I tried adapting my old chocolate chip cookie recipe, but the cookies were a disaster. They spread across the cookie sheet, were wafer thin and horribly crunchy. I don't even think we ate them, but just tossed them in the trash. I was so frustrated and upset. Tink HAD to have chocolate chip cookies. Then my mom gave me "Gluten Free Baking Classics" by Annalise Roberts. (I highly recommend that cookbook for any one who bakes gluten free. Her recipes are super easy and they taste good and work.) The first recipe I tried in it was the chocolate chip cookie recipe. It tasted delicious, but the cookies were still somewhat flat and crispy. I'm a fan of soft, cakier cookies so I made a few adjustments so they were the right texture and tasted more like my normal cookies. I also needed to adjust the baking time and temperature. I use a oven thermometer, but the original temperature just seemed too hot. I altered the sugar amounts, added some cinnamon, adjusted the amount of flour and went for M&Ms over chocolate chips.

Tink loves M&Ms. They were one of the first candies she ever had and they have a special place in her heart. It helps that her Grandpa always has some to share since he can't share his oreo cookies. I love changing the M&M colors to go with the season. Halloween M&Ms for October, red and green for Christmas, pink for Valentine's day. It's pretty easy to grab a bag in the seasonal department. Tink has fun with it too. She's also a total chocoholic so she likes the chocolate chocolate M&M version as well. After making the cookies multiple times, I soon learned that if you refrigerate the dough, your cookies come out puffier. I now always refrigerate before baking. Most gluten free cookie recipes work better than way. It's also essential that you use shortening and not butter. I'm sure you could use butter flavored shortening if you'd like to, but no butter.

m&m cookies
chocolate m&m cookies

M&M Cookies
1 cup vegetable shortening (Do NOT use butter or margarine) 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 T gluten free vanilla
2 ½ cups gluten free flour mixture
1 ¼ tsp xanthan gum
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
12oz chocolate chips or M&Ms (about 1 ½ cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. 2. Cream sugar and shortening in large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. 3. Add flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Mix until well blended. Stir in M&Ms. Refrigerate 30min. 4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake in center of oven for 8-10 minutes. Let cool slightly before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Variation: add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

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